Islamabad, April 18 (IANS) At least 14 passengers including 11 security personnel were forcibly offloaded from a bus on a highway in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and then shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Thursday, officials said.
The deceased included nine personnel from Pakistan Navy, one from Pakistan Coast Guard and one from Pakistan Air Force, whereas identities of the remaining three victims were not determined yet, security officials were cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.
The incident happened when five buses, travelling between Karachi and Gwadar on the Makran Coastal highway, carrying civilians and the victims were stopped by some 20-25 militants wearing Frontier Corps uniforms to check identity cards of the passengers.
After scanning the identities of passengers in one of the buses in Buzi Top area, the militants offloaded 16 of them. Fourteen of them were shot dead, while two passengers — reportedly soldiers of the Pakistan Army — escaped, according to Pakistan media reports.
After reaching a “safe” place, these soldiers informed security forces about the whole incident who rushed to the incident site and recovered 14 bodies, officials added.
Confirming the incident, a Pakistan Navy spokesperson said that several Navy personnel were among those killed.
Proscribed organization Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar claimed the attack on their unverified Twitter account, saying that their offensives against the security forces will further intensify, Xinhua news agency said.
Provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langov said a full-scale investigation was launched into the attack and to track down the gunmen.
“Such incidents are intolerable and we will not spare the terrorists who carried out this dastardly attack,” he said.
Condemning the attack, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan sought a report on the incident and directed the authorities to identify and bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said: “Terrorists are killing innocent people on the agenda of anti-state elements. It is a conspiracy to create hurdles in the development of Balochistan.”
This is the second incident involving mass killings in Balochistan this month. On April 12, a terror attack targeting the Hazara community in Quetta left at least 20 dead.
Similarly in 2015, armed men kidnapped about two dozen passengers from two Karachi-bound buses in Balochistan’s Mastung area and killed 19 of them.